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Minnesota's new law for same-sex couples-Part I

Same-sex couples in Minnesota face some difficult issues that are usually not experienced by their heterosexual counterparts, such as discrimination and other similar social issues. Marriage laws that apply to same-sex couples and family issues that include child custody are so new and untried that their interpretation sometimes leaves room for confusion. In most cases, same-sex couples are compelled to consult legal professionals who understand the current law and procedures to be followed for family law matters, such as domestic partnerships, separation and divorce of married same-sex couples and child custody and support.

With same-sex couples now allowed to marry legally in Minnesota, the laws relating to a same-sex couple's right to family formation under Minnesota law has also been codified to a certain degree. Under the new gender-neutral statute governing same-sex couples and their right to marry, religious institutions are not compelled to recognize or provide services for a same-sex marital union.

However, state laws and rights do apply to all civil unions. Most same-sex couples find it necessary to talk to a lawyer who is experienced with this new family law and its application to same-sex marriage. Often, it is difficult for the average person to understand and follow the various legal procedures and requirements for a valid same-sex marriage.

Statutes guiding civil marriage in Minnesota were specifically amended to include gender-neutral wording so laws could be applicable to marriage for same-sex couples, rendering a law that is fair and equal for any married couple, regardless of gender. Same-sex couples, like their heterosexual counterparts, must comply with the tenets of the law, such as the requirement that a wedding ceremony be performed by a person legally permitted to marry two people and that two witnesses be present for the vows.

Source: web.wmitchell.edu, "Family law issues for same-sex couples in the aftermath of Minnesota's same-sex marriage law: a family law attorney's perspective," Gary A. Debele, accessed May 7, 2015

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